Is This Fair Use?

We talked about the battle over copyright and fair use between the Press Association and Shepard Fairey back in October. The post is here – Art News: From Populist Hero to Plagiarising Hypocritebut, in a nutshell, the Press Association ended up in a lawsuit with Fairey over whether he should owe any royalties over his career defining Obama “Hope” poster. Fairey admitted destroying evidence showing he had Continue reading

Controlling the symbols of power: Who decides?

Obamao! Lmao!

We are constantly surrounded by all sorts of symbols, so much so that we seldom stop to consider their meanings or their effects on us until someone points them out. But perhaps we should pay more attention, because symbols have power. If they didn’t, governments wouldn’t attempt to censor and control any number of them. Although many of these may seem failrly innocuous to most of us, here’s a few Continue reading

The Weekly Revisit

This is just a quick update on a few of our posts from the last week.

Follow up #1: Will a new “American Dream” emerge from the current recession?

First of all, in recession news, the New York Times yesterday carried another story of large amounts of people applying for Continue reading

Art News: From Populist Art Hero to Plagiarising Hypocrite

You're a fucking thief

You're a fucking thief

When guerilla street artist Shepard Fairey produced the Obama Hope poster in 2008 it confirmed him in the eyes of the art world as a great new talent. The New Yorker art critic, Peter Schjeldahl called the poster, “the most efficacious American political illustration since “Uncle Sam Wants You”.

The poster hooked into the growing wave of “Obamania” sweeping across the US and Fairey distributed 300,000 stickers and 500,000 posters during the US election campaign and, as a consequence, saw his poster and fine art sales go through the roof. As a final seal of approval he received a personal letter from Barack Obama endorsing his art… Continue reading

Who let the dogs out? America’s right wing is barking

First, Facebook assassination polls; now talk of military coups. What the hell is going on? You’d think the U.S. was burning down and being overrun by hoardes of Commies and Islamo-fascists rather than just progressing though a significant recession.

I don’t mind strong critique when it is either useful, fact based, or done with a little humour, but the tone of some of this material is getting worrisome, especially the now constant reference to the “Obama Problem”, a new catch-all phrase that is never clearly defined. Of course, after the Facebook poll we all know what the final solution to this “problem” is, don’t we?

The John L. Perry* piece below (which has now been taken down from  its original site on, a conservative news site) needs/deserves to be read in its entirety. It was posted a couple of days ago and has caused quite a stir. Is it close to treason? Methinks it might be.

So, read away and let the incredulity begin:

Continue reading

Are we at the beginning of the end for newspapers?

For the last 200 years, the newspaper has functioned as the most authoritative disseminator of both news and up-to-date information across much of the world. This privileged position at the top of the information pyramid may be about to change. Now, many newspapers are struggling to survive, hit by a double whammy of falling readership and lower advertising revenue. While we might blame the drop in advertising revenue on the current recession, readership we cannot, as normally the pattern in recessions is for newspaper sales to increase.

Continue reading

Spanish PM’s Goth Teen Daughters — THE Photo!

Another political photograph — two in a row! Well, that’s what you get when there’s a G20 meeting going on.

And once again, a “moment” is captured, one that the Spanish delegation have been trying to to remove from all public display ever since.

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Busted! Dirty Euro Politicians Checking Out Their Next Meal

Ahhh, the genius of the still photo for capturing a “moment”.

Obama’s off the hook here, in a picture that has captured a couple of Eurotrash Heads of State eyeing up a female staffer like a couple of stalking lions.

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“Mad as Hell” update: Teabagger Hate Signs

A short montage below showing some of the signs at the 9/12ers gathering last weekend. What interests me here, as with the earlier post on this subject, is that the protestors can’t seem to make up their minds as to whether Obama is a fascist, a communist, or a socialist. Honestly, they can’t have it all ways — it doesn’t make any logical sense.

I can understand why charges of communism and socialism are being bandied around as political “insults”, but fascism? So here’s three reasons why I think that fascism is now being used regularly by conservatives as a critique of Obama:

(1) as payback for the way in which the left continually equated Bush with Hitler (This earlier comparison did have some legitimacy given the Bush administration’s attempt to consolidate power in the executive branch, their subsequent abuses of power and their various subversions of the law and the Constitution);

(2) because increasingly communism appears  to have lost its threatening edge in the post-Cold War world, whereas fascism/Nazism is still clearly equated with evil; and,

(3) because of historical ignorance. The teabaggers show little awareness that fascism has traditionally been seen as a right-wing ideology and thus it would be closer to their own politics than Obama’s (This historical ignorance demonstrated by a number of  conservatives is more obvious in the earlier clip posted by Dr Throttling, here).

Barack Obama Surfing a Giant Transatlantic Wave of Popularity


Check out these opinion poll numbers from the WSJ. The survey, published today, was taken in the European Union, the US and Turkey:

A record 77% of Europeans approve of Mr. Obama’s handling of international affairs, compared with 19% support for former President George W. Bush a year ago. In Germany, Europe’s biggest country, the jump was 80 percentage points, the biggest increase in any category in the seven-year history of the survey.

Ronald Asmus, executive director of the Fund’s Trans-Atlantic Center in Brussels analysed these extraordinary numbers: “Beyond the hype about ‘Obamamania,’ this is a tsunami, a once-in-a-generation bounce in popularity.”

I would just add to this by saying that if you ever wanted to get a huge bounce in popularity, it always helps to get elected  immediately after a global cock-smack like Bush.

When Democracies Torture

Take a look at the following list. Check off how many of the these you have heard from the U.S. Government in the last eight years in response to accusations of torture: Continue reading

Boozing with Obama

Beer on the White House Lawn Yawn

Now that Gatesgate has been finally put to bed with the lovely little snuggle-in over beer on the White House lawn, this bartender would like to offer his opinion of this politically clumsy attempt to engage in some open folksy camaraderie:

It was lame!

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Barack Obama versus the ‘Stupid’ Pigs

Something like this was always going to happen; at some point during the Obama administration, there was going to be a race-based incident that would gain widespread publicity and that would demand the attention of the President.

That time has arrived.

In response to the arrest by the Cambridge Police Department on Thursday, July 16th of noted black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at his own home for ‘disorderly conduct’, President Obama weighed into the affair, describing the actions on the police as ‘stupid’. Continue reading